A deep yawn groan from the madam of the manor’s chest, her arms stretched far above her head and her fingers uncurled, stained from the ink well that now set dry on the large oak desk. A small elderly woman creaked the heavy door open as she lead in a dark haired toddling cherub. No one could frown in his presence, he had a warm kind spirit about him, he truly radiated the best qualities of his parents. With deep emerald eyes found his mother hard at work.
“Come now Madam, you worked long enough in here today, someone demands your attention.”
Beaming Bell lifted the child into her arms smiling against his curls as she breathed him in “Indeed he does, and what Master Lucien request's, he shall receive.” Placing a kiss to his cheek before drawing back to meet his angelic smile "Isn't that so my darling boy." Handing him a trinket from her desk she allowed him to dutifully inspect with it with what seemed a fierce intensity that showed in his expression, as she shifted him to her hip while handing up scrolls to the woman who seemed to bring balance to chaos. “These are for the next post to go out. Please make sure they are sealed with the family crest.”
“And your meeting with the physician?”
Bell’s eyes fluttered towards Lucius as she kissed his head, shaking her own. “No need, I’m fine, send him away.”
“I said I’m fine Lydia!” Her blue eyes shot over to the woman with vivid intent. But the woman showed no signs of buckling. Slowly the woman walked over and laid both hands on the desk, staring flatly at her ward.
“You will see to your health, or I will inform the young lord’s -father- that he is in fact alive, and you are-”
“Don’t say it…” Her words slipped out in a whisper. “He’s a world away, I’ll go to a physician, but once this is out… There’s no telling what will be done. You know how people view what they fear is a pending corruption. What if they don’t stop with me, what if it insights a culling.” She kissed a chubby cheek as small digits curled around her falling tresses. “What if they assume Lucius is a creation of corruption?!”
A heavy sigh fell through parted lips as the crone shook her head. “You know I’d go to my grave before I’d see that angel harmed.” Leaning forward she swept onyx locks back over Bell’s shoulder, streaks of deep purple streamed under her skin from behind her ear, curling around to her neck. “With all the curses and hexes in this world that other’s have over come, I know you can over come this… Maybe you should find him.”
“He’s Gilnean, he’ll understand more then most, he knows what it’s like to change not knowing what you’ll be in the end.”
Pulling her son close, and letting out a hard exhale she nodded in defeat, sharp brows knitting together as she swallowed hard to cut back on sobs, Bell spoke softly. “How do I face him? How do I explain to him why I kept his son from him?”
“It’s Esmond, Bell.”
“I know but-”
“It’s -Esmond-, Bell.”
Looking up, the priest conceded defeat. “Fine. Find him.”
Trembling ink stained fingers held the layers of unrolled scroll, remnants of the broken wax and the tool to break laid spread across the heavy oak table. The only light shining was that of the lantern hanging over the desk and the glow from a libram kept under glass on display. Bell’s breath was ragged as she read, trying to remain still, and treat it as a mere document of facts.
“My Lady Martin,
Subject number 5 has shown the same results as the four prior. He came to us with a darken trace of a vein stemming from his spine and curving toward his chest. Much like those before he had used he magic of the shadows in the past but had since turned towards the Light.
Immediately we starting testing on him, the stages all seeming the same as those before him. At first his was able to touch objects that contained power of the Light, he was even able to cast small healing spells and blessings, as the veins branched from the main stem, he began to lose his abilities, and as it progressed he was no longer able to even touch blessed objects.
The nightmares were so bad we had to sedate him, in time we even had to bind him to his bed, as he would claw away at his flesh in his slumber.
The markings spread more rapidly towards the end, covering him from head to toe (the veins crept into his eyes, blacking them out completely). The switch with him was not as evident as the other’s thus he was not in confinement once the power took hold. He was able to attack and end three of my assistants before we could get him into a cell.
Once in the confinement he was fully consumed by the matter of the darkness, he pulled out his fingernails and toe nails, ripped his hair from his head, till (and this was also unique of this case) he ate at his own flesh.
We found his body in his cell this morning, scorch marks from the bars blessings I can only assumed he tried to escape through before he perished. This patient was with us a total of six months.
I trust your Ladyship is planning for the coming months. You at best have a year, and who knows what a priestess of your caliber is capable of. You were always gifted in both Shadow and Light. In the best scenario I can see thus far is that the infection of the darkness drives you mad and kills you, but there’s a possibility my Lady, a possibility you could become a vessel. You must seek treatment, and you must consider sending your son away, he has unspoken gifts, not only from the Martin side, but that of the Khaston. You MUST consider what will happen when you are consumed and he is in your clutches. I will continue to do what I can, find what I can, but I urge you to take great strides and prepare for what is to come.
A tremor coursed through her as she crumbled the letter into a ball before throwing it across the library with a reverberating scream. She sank into the high backed leather chair, her hands pulling back into her hair as she sobbed hard, gasping for air as she cried from the bottom of her heart. Fearless in the face of everyone else she could hold back the pain no longer. She had endured so much the loss of her family, her daughter, and now to know without a doubt she was going to die. She cried soft “no no no"s as she rocked back and forth, imagining the monster she would and will become, picturing the disgust and fear on other’s faces as they laid their eyes upon her. The worst was knowing she’d never see Lucius become the man she knew he would be.
Standing on shaken legs she slowly walked over to the glass dome, lifting it she set it aside, her eyes fixed on her father’s libram. It glowed softly, a warm inviting golden hue, trembling still Bell lifted her hand and slowly placed her palm on on the cover of the sacred text…. Nothing, sighing with relief she placed the dome back on the pedestal, passing what was now a nightly test (seeing how lost she had become).
Pulling her hair up into a long ponytail she sat back at her desk, gripping a quill and staring at a parchment with "Dear Esmond,” alone written on it. With a steadying breath she smoothed the page, and readied the quill.
I am writing you from my home in the Howling Fjord, I’m sure you recall it, Martin Manor. I am writing to you to first express my deepest apologies at your most recent injuries. I understand you are recovering quite well in our friends from the south’s hands.
I also would like to express to you how sorry I am that we have not spoken sooner, I feel, however, it’s important you should know that we have a child together. He’s a beautiful boy and I named him Lucius.
Anyhow I thought you should know, if you ever find yourself in Northrend, let me know.
Scrunching her nose she knew (she knew) how he would react. But as Lydia said “It’s Esmond.”